Friday, May 13, 2016

Vindolanda 2016 Day Four

A nearly unprecedented fourth straight day of cloudless skies and gentle breezes.  Old hands here at the excavation site grow nervous feeling that eventually we shall have to pay for this with cold and damp.

Speaking of damp one of my first tasks of the day was frog rescue.  One of the trenches from last year that we are back filling was partly full of water.  The current residents needed a new home when clods of turf and barrows full of dirt descended upon their little kingdom.

We are now at the level where wooden planks are appearing. Some kind of floor, with an adjacent wood lined drain.  The familiar musty odor of anaerobic preservation wafts up in places.  We don't know exactly what we are dealing with in terms of type of structure, but the finds have been scarce for a while.  One nice bit that came up was this large slab from a Samian ware bowl.  Great decoration on it....I especially like the guy wearing curly toed elf shoes.

I mentioned the other day that I won't be showing many metal objects.  All ancient sites worry about night time visits from thieves with metal detectors.  The odds of them actually finding something are zero because of the litter of nails, rusty metal bits and just the local iron containing rock.  But they would make a mess and probably hurt themselves in the process.

Some of the metal on site is near the top and corroded beyond interpretation.  I always like to look around for stones with "things" adhered to them.

I think one small object would be safe to feature today.  In organic layers we cut chunks and laboriously crumble them by hand.  It is the only way to find the delicate artifacts like writing tablets.  As I broke one chunk apart this lovely little thing popped out.

Purpose unclear.  It could be a sort of bead/pendant that is held by a string wrapped about its middle.  I have also seen it described as a fastener, something pushed through cloth or leather to form a "button" over which a loop could be placed.  Officially I guess it is "copper alloy stud".

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